UI Children's Hospital one step closer to completion


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Construction on the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital is one step closer to completion in 2016.

“The project is proceeding very well,” said Ken Kates, the UIHC chief executive officer. “There is a tremendous level of enthusiasm about this project.”

The $292 million project began construction in the fall of 2012.

The current UI Children’s Hospital served roughly 16,000 patients in fiscal 2011.

The planning committee for the hospital has spent the last recent year reworking design.

“Over the past year, we’ve been working to refine the design,” Kates said.

The 480,000 square feet of construction will result in 14 floors of space, along with 56,000 square feet of renovated space. More than 500 people have participated in shaping the design, including community members and staff members.

The new hospital will have 134 beds, and 55 beds will remain from the old facility, totaling 189 for patient use.

The construction on the underground, 650-space parking ramp was recently finished.

While the current construction causes a few headaches for current employees, Kates said. they see the promise of the project.

“People understand why we’re suffering a little bit today to get this remarkable [hospital] in the future,” Kates said.

The space that would’ve been occupied by a parking ramp will be put to use as a landscape and garden view for the patients and their families.

Hospital officials said they have listened to their current patients to find ideas to better the patient experience.

Among the improvements, the hospital officials said they heard “loud and clear” that patients want the ability to control the environment of their own rooms.

After hearing this from the patients, officials decided to provide individuals the ability to control the heat and lighting in their own rooms.

Future patients can look forward to amenities that will give the Children’s Hospital its key differentiator — a draw for children.

The project will include a theater and playrooms for the children and a family resource center and Gerdin Family Lobby. The lobby will be named for the Gerdin family, who recently donated $12 million for the hospital.

Additionally, the rooms will be constructed in a “same hand” method. The rooms are laid out in the exact same formats as opposed to mirror images. The goal of “same-hand” rooms is standardize care and placement for professionals to minimize errors.

UI Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard said hospitals around the country are beginning to phase out their pediatric care, but the hospital’s large call center prevents the UIHC from falling victim to this trend because specialists are vital to the children’s hospital.

“The cost would be impossible [for other hospitals],” he said. “You need to bring those specialists.”
But the large span of the hospital will accommodate these needs.

”We will have a world-class children’s facility,” Kates said. “We believe it will be a very good-looking building and will fit beautifully on our campus.”

Officials maintain this project will boost the Children’s Hospital reputation once it is completed.

“We can be incredibly proud,” said Debra Schwinn, the dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. “We’ll have one of the top if not the top [center] in Iowa.”

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